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With humbled heart and broken pride
Through Lánka's gate the giant hied,
Crushed, like an elephant beneath
A lion's spring and murderous teeth,
Or like a serpent neath the wing
And talons of the Feathered King.
Such was the giant's wild alarm
At arrows shot by Ráma's arm;
Shafts with red lightning round them curled,
Like Brahmá's bolts that end the world.
   Supported on his golden throne,
With failing eye and humbled tone,
'Giants,' he cried, 'the toil is vain,
Fruitless the penance and the pain,
If I whom Indra owned his peer,
Secure from Gods, a mortal fear.
My soul remembers, now too late,
Lord Brahmá's words which spoke my fate:
'Tremble, proud Giant,' thus they ran,
'And dread thy death from slighted man.
Secure from Gods and demons live,
And serpents, by the boon I give.
Against their power thy life is charmed,
But against man is still unarmed,'
This Ráma is the man foretold
By Anaranra's  1 lips of old:
   'Fear, Rávan', basest of the base:
For of mine own imperial race
A prince in after time shall spring
And thee and thine to ruin bring.
And Vedavatí,  2 ere she died
Slain by my ruthless insult, cried:

p. 473

'A scion of my royal line
Shall slay, vile wretch, both thee and thine.'
She in a later birth became
King Janak's child, now Ráma's dame.
Nandis'vara  1 foretold this fate,
And Umá  2 when I moved her hate,
And Rambhá,  3 and the lovely child
Of Varun  4 by thy touch defiled.
I know the fated hour is nigh:
Hence, captains, to your stations fly.
Let warders on the rampart stand:
Place at each gate a watchful band;
And, terror of immortal eyes,
Let mightiest Kumbhakarna rise.
He, slumbering, free from care and pain,
By Brahmá's curse, for months has lain.
But when Prahasta's death he hears,
Mine own defeat and doubts and fears,
The chief will rise to smite the foe
And his unrivalled valour show.
Then Raghu's royal sons and all
The Vánars neath his might will fall.'
   The giant lords his hest obeyed,
They left him, trembling and afraid,
And from the royal palace strode
To Kumbhakarna's vast abode.
They carried garlands sweet and fresh,
And reeking loads of blood and flesh.
They reached the dwelling where he lay,
A cave that stretched a league each way,
Sweet with fair blooms of lovely scent
And bright with golden ornament.
His breathings came so fierce and fast.
Scarce could the giants brook the blast.
They found him on a golden bed
With his huge limbs at length outspread.

They piled their heaps of venison near,
Fat buffaloes and boars and deer.
With wreaths of flowers they fanned his face,
And incense sweetened all the place.
Each raised his mighty voice as loud
As thunders of an angry cloud,
And conchs their stirring summons gave
That echoed through the giant's cave.
Then on his breast they rained their blows.
And high the wild commotion rose
When cymbal vied with drum and horn.
And war cries on the gale upborne
Through all the air loud discord spread,
And, struck with fear, the birds fell dead.
But still he slept and took his rest.
Then dashed they on his shaggy chest
Clubs, maces, fragments of the rock:
He moved not once, nor felt the shock.
The giants made one effort more
With shell and drum and shout and roar.
Club, mallet, mace, in fury plied,
Rained blows upon his breast and side,
And elephants were urged to aid,
And camels groaned and horses neighed.
They drenched him with a hundred pails,
They tore his ears with teeth and nails.
They bound together many a mace
And beat him on the head and face;
And elephants with ponderous tread
Stamped on his limbs and chest and head.
The unusual weight his slumber broke:
He started, shook his sides, and woke;
And, heedless of the wounds and blows,
Yawning with thirst and hunger rose.
His jaws like hell gaped fierce and wide,
Dire as the flame neath ocean's tide.
Red as the sun on Meru's crest
The giant's face his wrath expressed,
And every burning breath he drew
Was like the blast that rushes through
The mountain cedars. Up he raised
His awful head with eyes that blazed
Like comets, dire as Death in form
Who threats the worlds with fire and storm.
The giants pointed to their stores
Of buffaloes and deer and boars,
And straight he gorged him with a flood
Of wine, with marrow, flesh, and blood.
He ceased: the giants ventured near
And bent their lowly heads in fear.
Then Kumbhakarna glared with eyes
Still heavy in their first surprise,
Still drowsy from his troubled rest,
And thus the giant band addressed.
'How have ye dared my sleep to break?
No trifling cause should bid me wake.
Say, is all well? or tell the need
That drives you with unruly speed
To wake me. Mark the words I say,
The king shall tremble in dismay,

p. 474

The fire be quenched and Indra slain
Ere ye shall break my rest in vain.'
   Yupáksha answered: 'Chieftain, hear;
No God or fiend excites our fear.
But men in arms our walls assail:
We tremble lest their might prevail.
For vengeful Ráma vows to slay
The foe who stole his queen away,
And, matchless for his warlike deeds,
A host of mighty Vánars leads.
Ere now a monstrous Vánar came.
Laid Lanká waste with ruthless flame,
And Aksha, Rávan's offspring, blew
With all his warrior retinue.
Our king who never trembled yet
For heavenly hosts in battle met.
At length the general dread has shared,
O'erthrown by Ráma's arm and spared.'
   He ceased: and Kumbhakarna spake:
'I will go forth and vengeance take;
Will tread their hosts beneath my feet,
Then triumph-flushed our king will meet.
Our giant bands shall eat their fill
Of Vánars whom this arm shall kill.
The princes' blood shall be my draught,
The chieftains' shall by you be quaffed.'
He spake, and, with an eager stride
That shook the earth, to Rávan hied,


472:1 An ancient king of Ayodhyá said by some to have been Prithu's father.

472:2 The daughter of King Kus'adhwaja. She became an ascetic, and being insulted by Rávan in the woods where she was p. 473 performing penance, destroyed herself by entering fire, but was born again as Sitá to be in turn the destruction of him who had insulted her.

473:1 Nandisvara was S'iva's chief attendant. Rávan had despised and laughed at him for appearing in the form of a monkey and the irritated Nandis'vara cursed him and foretold his destruction by monkeys.

473:2 Rávan once upheaved and shook Mount Kailása the favourite dwelling place of S'iva the consort of Umá, and was cursed in consequence by the offended Goddess.

473:3 Rambhá, who has several times been mentioned in the course of the poem, was one of the nymphs of heaven, and had been insulted by Rávan.

473:4 Punjikasthalá was the daughter of Varun. Rávan himself has mentioned in this book his insult to her, and the curse pronounced in consequence by Brahma.

Next: Canto LXI.: The Vánars' Alarm.